Zooming in on COVID-19 – The Global Anti-epidemic Fight through the Lens of 100 Photographers from 27 Countries

February 5, 2020: In the evening, a patient is reading a book in the temporary treatment center at Wuhan International Conference and Exhibition Center. A passing nurse gives him a thumbs-up. by Ke Hao

As of June 28, 2020, global COVID-19 cases had topped 10 million. Mankind is facing the most serious global public health crisis since the end of World War II.

Against this backdrop, the whole world now shares weal and woe. Photographers across continents are using their cameras to record disordered life and extraordinary moments during the pandemic.

On June 29, 2020, “Zooming in on COVID-19: Unforgettable Moments in the Global Fight Against the Pandemic,” the first online photography exhibition in the world dedicated to the global fight against COVID-19, opened in Beijing.

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Capturing the valuable moments beyond the limits of time and space, the online exhibition presents 200 works of more than 100 photographers from 27 countries. They revealed the emotions demonstrated by individuals and society as a whole amid the crisis. As photographers, they are not only the witnesses, but recorders of the pandemic. Confronting life and death amid the epidemic, what do they want to express through the disordered and extraordinary moments captured in their frames?

Snapping more than 42,000 medical team members in addition to millions of Wuhan citizens, what we leave behind is not the curiosity of a bystander, but the in-depth record and reflection of a witness.

——Li Ge (China)

February 22, 2020: Geng Na, a nurse from Peking University Third Hospital dispatched to Wuhan to aid the fight against COVID-19 at the Sino-French Eco Demo campus of Tongji Hospital in Wuhan. by Li Ge


Confronting the COVID-19 pandemic, I felt fear for the first time in my career as a journalist. This is not a fear of the loss of life, but a fear for the prospects of the economy. To fully express this invisible psychological dread, I did my best to take satisfactory pictures. Fortunately, South Korea’s economy is recovering rapidly. I hope that in the future we will not face this horror again. But for the moment that has happened, I will keep its relevant memories in photos.


——Yoo Daegil (South Korea)

March 13, 2020: The empty international departure hall at Gimpo International Airport in Seoul, capital of South Korea. by Yoo Daegil


In this special period, I seek not just a picture with perfect composition of harmonious light and shade. I have always hoped to be able to use photography to capture the sparkling human nature of the era. I have also wished to record calmly, but was often touched by the people and their stories. Even images may not be able to describe sorrow and strength during the disaster, but I always hope that when I click the shutter, I am preserving a memory of the battle against the pandemic.

——Chen Liming (China)

March 2, 2020: A community worker sends vegetables to elderly residents quarantined at home on Yiyuan Road in Hankou District, Wuhan. by Chen Liming


Through the camera, I suddenly noticed two medical staffers, sitting and leaning against each other, like statues. At that moment, mixed emotions and excitement washed through me: it was joy, heartache and indescribable feelings – they were finally able to have a little rest. All the thrills, all the struggles, all the exhaustion they had experienced in the past month led to this moment of cuddling at dawn. It seemed as if time stopped altogether for the two of them. Through the window behind them, the sunshine was breaking in.


——Fei Maohua (China)

March 10, 2020: Two members of a medical team rest by leaning on each other while waiting for recovered COVID-19 patients to be discharged from the Wuchang temporary treatment center in Wuhan. by Fei Maohua


Each era has its own heroes. Tens of thousands of medical workers whose faces who are not visible behind masks are fighting against the coronavirus in Russia and around the world. They are the heroes of our time.

——Ilya Pitalev (Russia)

At the National Medical Research Center for Children’s Health under the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation, a doctor exchanges a high-five with a child infected with COVID-19, encouraging the child to quickly recover from the virus. by Ilya Pitalev


Every human being seems so vulnerable when they are confronted with the epidemic, but the strength from the spirit encourages us to face the danger and difficulties bravely. We cannot escape the difficulties of reality, so instead we face them positively. The heroes in harm’s way have not only healed our bodies, but also gave us the courage and motivation to continue to pursue a better life.


——Ke Hao (China)

February 5, 2020: In the evening, a patient is reading a book in the temporary treatment center at Wuhan International Conference and Exhibition Center. A passing nurse gives him a thumbs-up. by Ke Hao


The unique living conditions in the epidemic forced me to improve my photography skills. My eyes are now focusing on scenes that will never be seen again, such as the empty streets of Barcelona, or tourist hotspots where people are reappearing. Taking every photo is a new learning process. This crisis forced me to develop my abilities faster than ever before.


——Jordi Trenzano (Spain)

Two elderly citizens wearing masks support each other as they walk in a street in Barcelona, Spain. by Jordi Trenzano Vilar


When our homes became shelters, looking outside became a gaze into an uncertain future. Finding appreciation for so many things we took for granted has been true happiness. Through a camera I can feel the silence of the street and the absence of people—a sort of temporal suspension.

——Max Intrisano (Italy)

A pedestrian passes by Lazzaro Spallanzani Hospital, which was designated to treat COVID-19 patients in Rome, Italy. by Max Intrisano


For some reason, I’m obsessed with Lima. On the way home, I often turn to other streets, walk around and record the sight with my camera. At first, I felt great. But as time went on, the streets, empty and desolate, began to convey grief, especially at night.

I’ve seen with my own eyes the frightening scenes that haunted my mind for days and couldn’t calm down for a long time. This may have something to do with the fact that most of my family members were susceptible to the coronavirus, and at that time, little was known about it.


——Renato Pajuelo (Peru)

A deserted street in Lima, Peru, after the country announced a nationwide state of emergency. by Renato Pajuelo


Walking into the streets of Wuhan and the lives of local people, I can see that the city is gradually returning to normal life. Every individual and family I saw in the city is a microcosm of Wuhan’s all-out war against the epidemic.


——Ma Gengping (China)

February 23, 2020: A month after the lockdown of the city, a little girl pulls down her mask while playing in the street in Wuhan, China. by Ma Gengping


I was worried when the COVID-19 epidemic hit. Back then, we were not ready to face it. The government had no choice but to limit the flow of people and suspend industrial production. After several weeks of shutdown, Toyota plants were some of the first to restart production. I was present to witness it all.


——Vincent Jaroussaur (France)

April 21, 2020: A Toyota motor factory resumes operation in Valenciennes, France. by Vincent Jarousseau


As a press photographer of La Jornada, I was honored for the chance to capture the stories of different groups during the COVID-19 outbreak. One group was the medical staffers, who not only need to take care of patients, but also need to soothe families who are anxious to hear from them. I also recorded another group of people who had to walk out of their homes to earn bread for their families. The epidemic has taught us one thing: we need to be more compassionate with others. We can understand why some people have to leave their houses while others are lucky enough to work at home. The disease caught the world by surprise, but we are slowly learning how to deal with it. This exhibition is part of our drive to deliver global anti-epidemic action with cameras.

——Marco Peláez (Mexico)

April 1, 2020: A group of young people see off their friends at Mexico City International Airport. by Marco Peláez


“Zooming in on COVID-19: Unforgettable Moments in the Global Fight Against the Pandemic”

Selected Works

The exhibition falls into five sections including “Unanticipated COVID-19 Outbreak Worldwide”, “Life Matters, Love Prevails”, “Standing Together Through Thick and Thin”, “Global Shutdown, Sinking Economy”, “Boosting Confidence in Recovery, Moving Forward with Courage.”

Unanticipated COVID-19 Outbreak Worldwide

February 1, 2020: Quiet and empty Zhongshan Park in Beijing, China. by Duan Wei

April 12, 2020: Christ the Redeemer statue, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, is lit up. The city performed a mass to pay tribute to medical staff that day. by Buda Mendes

March 31, 2020: A pedestrian walks across the Red Square in Moscow, Russia. by Sergei Kuksin

February 18, 2020: A mother carrying her daughter in her arms walks towards the passenger train at Beijing West Railway Station in Beijing, China. by Xu Xun

January 27, 2020: Jiangtan Park, once bustling with visitors, is deserted, in Wuhan, China. by Wu Wei

  Life Matters, Love Prevail  

February 26, 2020: In the west campus of Wuhan Union Hospital of China, a woman infected with COVID-19 successfully delivers an uninfected newborn by caesarean section. by Tao Ran

March 16, 2020: A nurse holds a newborn in an isolation ward for COVID-19 patients in Wuhan Children’s Hospital. by Pan Songgang  
April 29, 2020: A nurse signals to her colleagues after putting on personal protective gear at a hospital in Mexico City, capital of Mexico. by Marco Peláez

April 6, 2020: Medical staff to aid Wuhan from Peking Union Medical College Hospital are on their way back to Beijing. A Wuhan local on motorcycle gives them a thumbs-up. by Chen Jian

Standing Together Through Thick and Thin

February 11, 2020: Employees of the Port of Yantai keep a safe distance of two meters between each other when having lunch at the canteen. by Tang Ke

On a lane flanked by cherry blossoms in Seoul, civil servants hold signboards to remind the public to “maintain social distancing” and “wear masks.” courtesy of the Seoul Metropolitan Government

March 22, 2020: A man walks in front of a large coronavirus poster saying “Insieme, Senza Paura” (Unite without Fear) in Naples, Italy. by Carlo Hermann

A couple of lovers hug each other in Beijing’s Summer Palace during the COVID-19 outbreak. by Jiang Yonggang

May 12, 2020: A couple of lovers walk hand in hand near St. Basil’s Cathedral on Red Square in Moscow, Russia. by Valery Sharifulin

A couple of lovers wearing masks kiss each other at the Piazza di Spagna in Rome, Italy. by Claudio Brufola


Global Shutdown, Sinking Economy

March 18, 2020: New York stock indexes plummet in the morning and, after another tumble at noon, trigger the circuit breaker for the second time.  Xinhua

March 16, 2020: A woman passes by a closed café in Paris, France. by Philippe Lopez

May 13, 2020: A deserted street in Mexico City, capital of Mexico. by Jaime Andrés Arroyo Olin

April 7, 2020: Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, far fewer people are seen in Ginza, one of the oldest and busiest entertainment and shopping districts in Tokyo, Japan. Xinhua

March 22, 2020: A woman wearing a face mask poses for a photo in front of Tower Bridge in London. by Alex Davidson

Boosting Confidence in Recovery, Moving Forward with Courage

April 7, 2020: The trains at the rail yard of Wuhan Railway Station, nicknamed the “land-based carrier,” are ready to set off. On April 8, Wuhan officially lifted outbound travel restrictions, and outbound traffic was smoothly restored. by Xu Xun

March 28, 2020: Workers wearing masks are busy working on the assembly line at the Dongfeng Honda No. 2 plant in Wuhan, Hubei Province. by Xu Xun

June 12, 2020: Tourists are back to take gondola rides along the canal with the epidemic coming under control in Venice, Italy. by Andrea Pattaro

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